25% Off Awards to Europe, Israel, Morocco for Spring Travel

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Flying Blue–the loyalty program of Air France/KLM, Air Europa, Kenya Airways, and TAROM Romanian–has released its newest Promo Awards that let you fly from select American cities to anywhere in Europe or to Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, or Algeria for as little as 12,500 miles each way in economy plus tiny fuel surcharges.

Flying Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of ThankYou Points, Membership Rewards and Starpoints. You can get 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 on the Citi Prestige® Card.

My Review of the Citi Prestige Card

These Flying Blue Promo Awards must be booked by February 29, 2016 for travel in April or May 2016. This is not the strongest list we have seen recently, but there are some good deals. There are also several Brazilian cities on the list, which is a huge deal, since Promo Awards leaving Brazil are the only Promo Awards with no fuel surcharges.

  • What cities are these Promo Awards good for? What if you don’t live in one?
  • Why do you care that three Brazilian cities are on the Promo Awards list?
  • How do you book a Promo Award?
  • How do these awards compare to awards with lower fuel surcharges?
  • How can you eliminate the out-of-pocket cost of the award?

Flying Blue Promo Awards Explained

Miles Price

Every month, Flying Blue releases a new list of Promo Awards, which allow travel from specified American cities to anywhere in Europe for 25% or 50% off the normal miles price. Flying Blue’s definition of Europe includes Israel.

The current list of the best Promo Awards is available for booking through February 29, 2016 for flights from April 1 to May 31, 2016.

There is one American city on the list.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 12.09.54 PM

  • Flights from Houston in AirFrance economy are 25% off and 18,750 miles one way.

Out-of-Pocket Cash

Promo awards have the same out-of-pocket taxes and fuel surcharges as normal Flying Blue awards. The taxes are the same as you would pay on any award ticket. The fuel surcharges are listed on this table (click to enlarge):

From the US to Europe, the fuel surcharge each way is 50 euros in economy, 110 euros in Premium Economy, and 180 euros in Business or First.

At current exchange rates, that works out to:

  • a modest $112 + taxes out of pocket on roundtrip awards to Europe in economy
  • an annoying $246 + taxes out of pocket on roundtrip awards to Europe in Premium Economy
  • a punitive $403 + taxes out of pocket on roundtrip Business Class awards to Europe.

Booking

Promo Awards are valid for one ways or roundtrips.

To book a Flying Blue Promo Award, sign in to your Flying Blue account and select to use miles. Everything on the search form is pretty intuitive; just make sure you don’t check “Flights allowing changes only” because Promo Awards don’t allow changes.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.09.17 AM

In your search results, the discounted Promo Award prices are already coded into the price displayed on the calendars, which will display the one way price.

Examples

All examples are from a previous list, just to give you an idea of what the search results look like.

Here is a one way economy search from New York to Paris. Award space is available at the Promo Award price every day for this five week period for 12,500 miles + $76.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.04.58 AM

Here is a one way economy class search from Houston to Madrid. The green dates are days with Promo Award space available for 12,500 miles each way. That’s basically every day in February and early March.Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.06.29 AM

These Promo Awards must start in Houston, but they can go anywhere in Europe. Oddly Flying Blue classifies Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and the Canary Islands as part of Europe, so Promo Awards can even fly to Tel Aviv or North Africa for 12,500 miles. Here is the award space from Boston to Tel Aviv.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.38.10 AM

I priced out a roundtrip award from Houston to Madrid to see the total price.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.08.06 AM

It cost a mere 25,000 Flying Blue miles and $228. That’s two roundtrips from the sign up bonus of the Citi Prestige® Card.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.08.16 AM

This broke down to $106 in fuel surcharges and $122 in unavoidable taxes.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.08.30 AM

Triangle Trip to Brazil and Europe

In “Incredible Trick: Flying Blue Promo Awards with No Fuel Surcharges,” I explained that Brazilian law prohibits fuel surcharges on all tickets including Promo Awards.

Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Brasilia to Europe or Israel are on the current list with discounts for economy, Premium Economy, and Business Class.Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 12.10.19 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-04 at 12.10.28 PM

If a triangle trip to South America and Europe in a few months sounds amazing, Brasilia to Europe for 50,000 miles + $45 in Business Class is an unbeatable deal for the hypotenuse of that triangle.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 12.12.31 PM

Getting the Miles

Flying Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of ThankYou Points, Membership Rewards, and Starpoints. And as usual, increments of 20k Starpoints transfer to 25k Flying Blue miles.

You can get 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points from the Citi Prestige® Card, which has a huge sign up bonus and big category bonuses.

My Review of the Citi Prestige Card

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

Bonus

The drawback for the Promo Awards is the out-of-pocket cash needed to book them. You can eliminate the out-of-pocket cash needed by paying for the Promo Award with your Citi Prestige® Card.

The Citi Prestige® Card offer a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year that offsets your first $250 in spending on airlines with the card. Taxes and fuel surcharges on an award ticket definitely count. If your taxes and fuel surcharges are less than $250, the entire amount will be credited back on your statement. If they are more than $250, $250 will be credited back.

The card also comes with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 in the first three months, which can be transferred to Flying Blue miles.

Application LinkCiti Prestige® Card

Recap

Book by February 29, and fly in April or May, and you can enjoy 25-50% off awards from American and Brazilian cities to Europe, Israel, or North Africa.

Get Flying Blue miles by transferring points earned on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, and avoid the out of pocket expenses with Arrival miles from the Citi Prestige® Card.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. I have been planning on using flying blue due to the 50% off awards. Now that they aren’t offering it this month, it makes me not bank on it for when I’ll need it and I’m going with another strategy. BA Avios DUB-BOS methinks since I have 5 people to transport.

  2. Definitely something to know about for those holding or considering Thank You Points. With AA though, it’s only a little more (40k) for a much more extended off-season travel window and to and from any airports they and their partners serve (avoiding BA flights, of course). That’s what I would normally rely on, but it’s useful to know all options.

    • Flying Blue Promo awards are a far better deal than AA off peak:

      1. to Israel
      2. May 15 – Oct 15 (when AA off peak doesn’t exist but FB Promo awards do)
      3. when they are 50% off (25k roundtrip)

  3. its cool but the positioning flight & YQ eat up the relative savings.
    using avios for positioning is hit or miss

    • Looks like the comments section comes from an earlier post in October on a different promo. I would analyze the current one adding the cost to get to Atlanta or Houston (miles and/or points) and the cost of the “fuel” (actually the “because the authorities let us lie about our fares”) surcharge. Since I would buy miles at about 1 cent each, I consider the $122 BTALUSLAOF surcharge to be tantamount to an extra 12,200 miles. Clearly even with these add-ons it remains a good deal for some people – particularly those in Atlanta or Houston – but I’m not tempted yet.

  4. why dont you address the issue of points transfer from flexible program to flying blue as it would hinder any bookings and account shutdown for no reason. I think its irresponsible of you to promote something while an open issue is on the table. newbies point collectors would not this issue if no one bring it up.

  5. this is innane, but anyone else getting tired of seeing a couple of guys jogging to some high rises as the image for North America?

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